Save our kids — stop the Pops!

Pops_lIt’s an all-too-familiar story these days: A musical act whose fans are known to be an unsavory lot gives a public performance; large numbers of those miscreant fans crowd into a confined space to hear that provocative music; before long, someone ends up getting hurt, all because of those no-good, disreputable "artists."I’m talking, of course, about the Boston Pops and their light orchestral fare.

Haven’t you heard? Last week a nasty fistfight in the seats of Symphony Hall (pictured) interrupted the Pops’ opening night. The Boston Police Department initially declined to charge anyone in the incident, but they decided last weekend to open a criminal investigation.

One thing that no one seems to have considered doing is shutting down Symphony Hall or otherwise punishing the Pops’ distinguished players for the actions of a single creep who happened to attend their performance. Of course they haven’t — that would be utterly ridiculous, right?

Change the genre, though, and all bets are off.

A few weeks ago, police in the British city of Derby chose to shut down a nightclubfor 24 hours simply because G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks was scheduled toplay a show there. Banks hadn’t done anything to anyone, directly orindirectly. The show hadn’t even taken place yet! But those factsdidn’t matter to Chief Inspector Gary Parkin, who cited "a number offirearms-related incidents at similar events connected with this musicgenre."

Ah, yes, "this music genre." You know those rap tunes, always makingotherwise calm people want to kill each other for no reason. Clearlyrappers like Lloyd Banks are responsible for the problem of gunviolence in central England — not, say, local police officials who arebusy demonizing musicians when they should be stopping actual crimes.Thing is, violent people are going to commit violent acts wherever theyare, regardless of soundtrack. Sometimes that means fights break out athip-hop concerts; sometimes they happen at supposedly respectablebourgeois get-togethers like the Boston Pops’ opening night. I, forone, have never sensed the least hint of danger at any of the countlessrap shows I’ve attended — unless you count the enthusiasticallygrooving naked dude at Ghostface Killah’s recent Coachella set, and hedidn’t seem like much of a threat to anyone.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Will you burn all your copies ofArthur Fiedler and John Williams’ breezy symphonic interludes beforeit’s too late?


Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Stephanie T.

    It is not the music that makes the people hit other people or use weapons, it is their mentality or lack there of, period.

  • jj

    Don’t pretend that authorities should be as worried about crowd behavior at the Pops as they should at a Lloyd Banks concert. I’m all for not stereotyping, and if the police had no reason to suspect a Lloyd Banks gig to be violent, then shame on them. If it was just cuz of the genre, then shame on them. But I think you could make the concession that violence is more likely to errupt at rap concerts than at a Pops concert. Again, not that that justifies shutting down the Banks gig, but don’t pretend like “rap” at large hasn’t had more violent incidents at its concerts than the Pops has. Cuz it has. This is hardly “Oh! Shocking” and “The injustice!”-worthy. Rap set a precedent for itself. Pops-esque music has not.

  • The Snook

    Unless this was a poor attempt at humor, I have lost a lot of respect for Simon Vozick-Levinson and Popwatch in general. To try to draw a comparison between one incident in classical music and the depravity of rap music is pretty weak.

  • Honey

    I think this is pretty shallow – I don’t blame all of hip hop for the violence in my home city of Philadelpha but there’s no denying that between 1 and 10 mostly African American people are murdered every single night in this city of under one million.
    Flippantly dismissing what is a systemic problem in the inner city this way isn’t helpful. And no, I don’t believe in banning any form of music. I do, however, believe in calling out artists who encourage violence. And last time I checked, quite a few hip hip artists do condone violence and sexism while the Boston Pops do not.

  • Chuck_A

    Gosh, can you say “isolated incident”? I realize that you are the MSM and all, but let’s be a little more realistic, shall we?


    All valid points, but I think some are missing a bigger picture. Yes, rational, educated people would think about the likelihood of incidents happening at a show, weigh all the risks and then make a rational decision. I work in events and know how it works. But, the thing is that most of these venues don’t know the difference between Lloyd Banks, TI and Common, even a Will Smith. Then you get a trickle down effect where a violent incident or two at 50 Cent shows = all rap events being a problem in some eyes, which eventually = all gatherings of black youth being a issue, then = any random group of young black people being harassed just for being in a group larger than 5. It’s a classic example of a small group representing a large segment of society in someone’s mind. As a black American you never know whom going to end up repping you. Sometimes its Beyonce, sometimes its Flava Flav (rarely Obama). Can’t do much about it. This is about who is representing rap, and why – and who decides

  • daisyj

    Well, you had me until the jump.
    Look, rioting fans of watered-down orchestral music=hilarious. Closing a nightclub because you are prejudiced against a certain type of performer=stupid. But a connection here? Not so much.

  • Anonymous

    “Clearly rappers like Lloyd Banks are responsible for the problem of gun violence in central England — not, say, local police officials who are busy demonizing musicians when they should be stopping actual crimes.”
    Give me an effing break. The police aren’t magicians who can wave a magic wand and make crime go away. As you manage to admit, PEOPLE are responsible for gun violence. There’s only so much any police force can do.
    Also, I don’t know much about Lloyd Banks specifically, but if anyone at this point tries to argue that rap music doesn’t glamorize violence, they’re just being disingenous.

  • jiggaboo


  • ?

    This is what happens when low-brow people go out, they just don’t know how to act!
    As the story goes, the police did not want to make an arrest at first. Is it because the “decent” folks have plenty of cash?

  • ?

    I would not be calling anyone any names Jigaboo. Your all capital letters infers that you are of the same lot.

  • Jason Bonkers

    On every thread there has to be at least one poster who lacks education. Jiggy: Please go to school and listen carefully. If you do not, your brain is going to keep losing neural fibers, now, you would not want that!

  • Stephanie T.

    It does not matter what type of concert you go to. There is always going to be some jerk or jerks messing it up thus completely ruining it for other people. Case in point, The Who in Cincinatti, 1979. People started storming the gates of the arena and crushed people in the process. Wanna go before that? Altamont. Rap concert, rock concert, classical music concert, The Wiggles,etc. It does not matter what type of music. Look, when I was 18 I went to see Type-O Negative in a club in Brooklyn, NY. Some a-hole comes out of nowhere and pushed me into the mash pit. If some guy did not have a conscience and pulled me out of there, I would not be writing today.

  • MEme

    This story shouldn’t shock anyone. After all, this is typical US behavior.

  • Martha

    Simon, I’m with DaisyJ on this one. I don’t see the connection between what happened at Pops last week (which was probably the first incident of its kind ever, by the way) and closing down a club in the UK to stop a rap concert. Until Keith Lockhart & Co take to covering “F*** Tha Police.”

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